Friday, May 9, 2008


I apologize if this post sounds a little snarky but right now I'm brimming with a healthy dose of "I told you so."

Back in January I wrote about the over-development of Bay Ridge and what, if anything, was being done about the infrastructure - and in particular - our overcrowded school system.
It feels as if developers are coming in here with no regard for the community, for the aesthetics of the community, or for the community's infrastructure. We're being lied to and trampled on. I think the Green Church is a culmination of a lot of issues.

If The Ridge adds -- or what it feels like to me -- if The Ridge has thrust upon them fifty condos in place of the Church and a seven-story condo complex in place of a funeral home, who's going to come in and build new schools? Our schools are already overcrowded -

P.S. 170 Lexington School - overcrowded, so four classes are housed in trailers

P.S. 104 Fort Hamilton School - Unfortunately, the school grapples with overcrowding. Kindergarten classes, unable to fit into the main school, take place in a district building five blocks away. And middle school classrooms are too cramped to hold comfortably the 30 or so kids in each class.

P.S. 185 Walter Kassenbrock School - The school is overcrowded, with more than 700 children in a building designed for 500.
I repeated part of that article again in March when there was chatter about our schools.

I even brought it to the attention of one of our local preservationists, suggesting that information be used as leverage for why the Green Church should not be torn down and turned into condos. But I was told by the preservationist that our school system was not overcrowded.

Well lo and behold, look what Comptroller William C. Thompson has dragged in.
In a 114-page report to be issued on Friday, William C. Thompson Jr., the city comptroller, derided the school system’s capital planning process as “broken,” concluding, “There are far too many neighborhoods with overcrowded schools and no hope of relief for at least several more years.”

Mr. Thompson said in the report that the city’s School Construction Authority did not sufficiently account for new residential construction projects when it estimated how many seats would be needed in which school districts.
Brooklyn 12 News reported tonight that Bay Ridge schools are at 103% capacity and it's projected that in seven years, enrollment will increase by 20%!


Do we really want to send our kids to schools that will be at 123% capacity?

This battle with developers is not just about preserving old buildings. It is about the quality of life in our town and about who is going to be held accountable for providing the much needed infrastructure if we continue to let developers come in here and have their way.


Anonymous said...


You're correct on all these points, but we also can't be afraid to address the elephant in the room here.

The fact is you have a sizable demographic of children from lower/middle income immigrant families composing these student bodies, and you're not likely to see their parents banging down doors to get answers on overcrowding. For them, the schools provide the bare necessities. These people are coming from a position where class size (in any ratio) is a luxury.

So there's a cultural divide here.

The parents that would find class size an issue opt for the private school route, so it seems never the trains shall meet.

You're spot on here, and in some cases it's a question of trying to get the patient to do what's best for him or herself, even if they don't know they need it, or doing it.

Steve-O said...

I don't know if overdevelopment is the only reason, but I do appreciate the steadfastness you've had on this issue. NOTHING is more important when it comes to the success of a school than small class size.